About four years ago I got a call asking if I wanted to take a job that had actually been created in hopes I’d take it. It’s not every day that happens — actually, it’s the only time that has ever happened to me — and so I choked down a knee-jerk reaction to say no, and let the man have his say.
At the end of that, I took the job.
It was — and still remains — a very good job, and to this day I am happy, challenged and fortunate in the work I do. But it did mean ending a pretty good run being paid to have an opinion about things as a syndicated columnist and blogger.
At first I liked not having to have an opinion about things. I recommended my syndicated column be taken over by a good friend who’s a journalist I admire — the syndicate was smart enough to say yes — and threw myself into the work of turning big data into good narrative in the service of a company so large that if I mentioned the name you’d sing the jingle.
People always do, you see, and it annoyed me at first but I don’t really care anymore.
That’s because I have a crap-ton of exciting data to consider, and I work on a team with economists, doctors and biostatisticians producing studies that help people make better choices when it comes to choosing and caring for companion animals. I don’t overtly sell the product, but I don’t mind at all if people come away from the studies thinking just maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea if they had the product.
I have the product, after all, and have had for a very long time. Long before the man called to pitch me the idea of working for the company that sells more of that product than any other company in the United States, and not by a small margin, either. (OK, fine: This is the product.)
All well and good, but …
I still have opinions. And I still want to write about things just because I want to write about them, and because social media can be too limiting for that purpose.
I used to blog every day, and then came social media and then came the new job and then, I was tossing out thoughts willy-nilly on Twitter and Facebook, and putting “fuck” and “fucking” in a lot of places for emphasis. I suspect the latter is because social media isn’t the format I need to be working in for a lot of what I want to be writing about.
In other words, I’m fucking tired of being limited to 140 characters. And I’m fucking tired of arguing with idiots and/or family on Facebook.
Finally, there’s the matter of a work of fiction I have been promising the best editor I’ve ever worked with for more than a few years now. The best way to write a book, I’ve found, it to write all the time, work those muscles and develop some good habits that may have lapsed.
And so, here I am. Again.